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My lathering technique with Italian soft soaps

Marco

B&B's Man in Italy
Lately I've seen that some B&B members are having issues regarding how to create a good lather with Italian soft soaps. And I have personally received several PMs regarding this subject, with many asking me what kind of lathering technique I actually use. Here is a simple tutorial for new wet shavers or for those who just are unable to get satisfying results with soft soaps.

1. Italian soft soaps like brushes with soft tips and great backbone. You can use a quality boar or badger brush of your choice with the above specs. I prefer boars, as in the old Italian barbershop tradition.

2. Run your brush under hot water (or simply soak it) for at least 30 seconds.

3. Turn your brush upside-down WITHOUT shaking it. Allow only the gravity water to fall down and move your brush carefully, since it has to be kept full of water.

4. Start making swirls on the surface of the soap. You have to proceed slowly, without pressure on the brush. Remember that it's very wet.

5. Heavily load your brush for about 45/60 seconds making around 100/120 swirls. Please keep in mind that the loading time and number of swirls also depend on how big your brush is and how much water it can retain.

6. Move the brush onto your face and face lather. Again, be careful, you'll have a LOT of lather to handle.

7. While face lathering add, slowly and progressively, a few drops of water per time to your brush. Or, alternatively, lightly wet the tips of the brush. I personally prefer to add drops of water to the brush because I have a better control of the soap/water ratio.

8. You bring the lather to the right consistency.

*** The main concept to always keep in mind is simple: a lot of water + a lot of swirls + a lot of soap = a lot of great, thick, slick and effective lather. ***

I learned this technique from an old Italian Master Barber with over 40 years of experience and I've been using it with great results for almost 16 years.

P.S. This lathering technique works very well even with hard, triple milled soaps. Exactly as described above, with the sole exception that I soften the surface of hard soaps with a dozen drops of water before starting to make swirls.
 
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Excellent, excellent, excellent!

This should be stickied. Well done, Marco. :thumbup:

+1, please make this a stickie.
Kind members could help by even posting pictures!
(although the steps are pretty self-explanatory as it is, but I just love pics with beautiful brushes and lather :thumbup1:)
 
Lately I’ve seen that some B&B members are having issues regarding “how to create a good lather” with Italian soft soaps. And I have personally received several PM’s regarding this subject, with many asking me what kind of lathering technique I actually use. Here is a simple tutorial for new wet shavers or for those who just are unable to get satisfying results with soft soaps.

1. Italian soft soaps like brushes with soft tips and great backbone. You can use a quality boar or badger brush of your choice with the above specs. I prefer boars, as in the old Italian barbershop tradition.

Sorry. Will not work for me at all. I've been having issues with getting my well broken in Semogues to give up 3 decent passes lately, so tried this.

All I get is a mountain of thin, watery bubbles in the brush. I'm a full time face latherer and I spent an eternity on my face lathering the watery goop and only got fluffy, airy nothingness. It sort of resembled lather, but I wouldn't shave with it. And not a little irritation, due to the time spent doing it.
 
Hmm, shouldn't people actually try this for themselves to see if it works for more than one person? All we have currently is a lot of fan love and no confirming experiences.

Was a massive dud for me and I tried it. To the letter. But I see I'm just being politely ignored.
 
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Hmm, shouldn't people actually try this for themselves to see if it works for more than one person? All we have currently is a lot of fan love and no confirming experiences.

Was a massive dud for me and I tried it. To the letter. But I see I'm just being politely ignored.

Have you seen my post: I say it works great ALSO with horse. Before I used a boar (Herban Cowboy and Vergulde Hand barbers Brush). It realy works for me :thumbup1: And I have tried it with with 3 soft soaps; Vitos Red, Vitos Green and Bottega Verde. Same result: a lot of very good lather.
 
I was commenting on boar, as that is what Marco used. A sopping wet 1305 with Cella and Valobra only provided a sloppy, wet soap mix in the brush, and an awful billowy lather.

Maybe Marco has better quality water. But my point was, IMHO this approach should get actual accolades before being 'promoted' to a proven method, not just because of Marco's popularity as a soft soap enthusiast.

It might work for Marco and Italian barbers, but unless joe average can do it too, it's pretty useless, IMO.
 
I was commenting on boar, as that is what Marco used. A sopping wet 1305 with Cella and Valobra only provided a sloppy, wet soap mix in the brush, and an awful billowy lather.

Maybe Marco has better quality water. But my point was, IMHO this approach should get actual accolades before being 'promoted' to a proven method, not just because of Marco's popularity as a soft soap enthusiast.

It might work for Marco and Italian barbers, but unless joe average can do it too, it's pretty useless, IMO.

Well, there you a have a point, I am not Joe Average. But for what it is worth I can do it, with cheap boars (Herban Cowboy is 3,79 usd, Vergulde Hand Barbers Boar about 10 usd). In fact I even did it with my little Erasmic boar, I got that one for free with a shave stick. The water down here is quite soft.
 
Love this soap:thumbup:i have been wetting the soap prior to use and having great results, my favorite soap so far:thumbup1:
 
If you need a little less lather, you can adapt this same technique for that by shortening the loading time on the soap. You will not likely have to add water to adjust the consistency, and may even need to give the brush a single, firm "pump" (not a flick) to release a little water before starting to load. Yields less lather, but keeps the "heart" of the method (which is a good, wet brush).

I'm NOT trying to take anything away from Marco's method here - for the Sunday morning indulgent 4 pass BBS masterpiece, Marco's method should do fantastically. But be warned - it generates quite a bit of lather!
 
Hmm, shouldn't people actually try this for themselves to see if it works for more than one person? All we have currently is a lot of fan love and no confirming experiences.

Was a massive dud for me and I tried it. To the letter. But I see I'm just being politely ignored.

I can't speak for everyone. But the technique Marco has described is the method I use and the method I've told hundreds of people about. My personal sample size in statistical terms is quite large (all things relative)

I've only heard positive feedback from it.

A point I would add... the brush will be carrying a lot of water therefore it works if you are loading for 45-60 seconds etc. If you going to only load/swirl for 15-20 seconds you may want to experiment with shaking the brush a bit for less water. Building lather is a bit of an art and you need to find your own "sweet spot" based on your brush, your water quality, how much lather you want to make; experimentation is essential.
 
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Marco

B&B's Man in Italy
If you need a little less lather, you can adapt this same technique for that by shortening the loading time on the soap. You will not likely have to add water to adjust the consistency, and may even need to give the brush a single, firm "pump" (not a flick) to release a little water before starting to load. Yields less lather, but keeps the "heart" of the method (which is a good, wet brush).

I'm NOT trying to take anything away from Marco's method here - for the Sunday morning indulgent 4 pass BBS masterpiece, Marco's method should do fantastically. But be warned - it generates quite a bit of lather!

Josh, I agree 100% with all your observations. :thumbup1: It's just that I simply LOVE to have and handle mounds of lather... :001_wub:
 
I'm not sure I'd use this method. The water content in the brush would be relatively large, resulting in unwieldy amounts of wet lather. If you have a large bowl and/or a large brush then it would probably be manageable—but my bowls aren’t the biggest, and I use modest brush sizes.

Also, water hardness will have an influence. If you try this method with soft water you’d better warn the local fire department that you can take over as their new foam producing machine. If you try it with hard water then you need to spend quite some time on the puck ere the hardness has been neutralised.

And it doesn't factor in what a shaver wants to shave with.

Personally, for general use, I'd insert a step between 3 and 4 'yoyo the brush quite, but not completely, dry'. Once you have concentrated soap in the brush you can do whatever you want, but the point is getting to that point :001_cool:. Of course, if a shaver already knows he wants to shave with wet lather then he can immediately load with a wet brush. Speaking for myself: even after three years of loading soaps with plenty of success I find I positively s-u-c-k at gauging the water content in a wet brush, so I tend to go at a soap with a moist brush and add water later on in the process. But that's just me.
 
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